So something pretty odd happened recently. Nintendo has announced that they are releasing a Gamecube controller converter for the new Smash Bros. Not only will this allow people to use their old Gamecube controllers on the Wii U, Nintendo will also be reproducing the Gamecube controller model for fans to purchase for the first time.
Question 1: Why would Nintendo do this?
Devoting a ton of resources to remaking a decade old controller for one game and one game only? Is that really worth it for them? Nintendo is the company that has been most brash about their controller redesigns. Each new console comes with a completely new controller, as opposed to the PlayStation and Xbox that just iterate on their previous designs.
Question 2: Who does this please?
Random casual gamers probably aren’t going to care that Nintendo is releasing the Gamecube controller again. Heck, casual gamers would use whatever game controller you thrust into their hand. Only the pros swear by the controller that they use, and Nintendo has repeatedly made it clear that they are more about family oriented gaming than pro gaming.
Question 3: How will Nintendo make money off this?
Let’s face it, the final goal for any decision made by a video game publisher is money. Everyone wants to make money. So Nintendo must think that they can turn a profit off of selling the Gamecube controllers once again.
Answer: Nintendo thinks their future is in hardcore gamers
Think about all of these questions for a while. Nintendo would do it because they want Smash Bros. to be successful. The controllers please the hardcore crowd, so they think the game’s success hinged on hardcore adoption of the game. Finally, they think that there are enough hardcore players to turn a profit off a decade old controller, solely for the purpose of playing one single Nintendo fighting game. The only conclusion is that Nintendo is trying to cater to the hardcore crowd.
And for good reason. The Wii U hasn’t been doing so hot and, to be honest, the only games that came out so far were meant for Nintendo fanboys and casual gamers. Mario is great, but he won’t get you the Call of Duty crowd. Pikmin is enjoyable, but it won’t wrangle in a Starcraft player. The Wonderful 101… heck not even I know who that game appealed to.
They have seen their console wither while only being supported by the casual crowd, so now they are turning to the hardcore, and this will likely be good for them. First of all, it will force them to take online gaming seriously, as well as treating the Wii U as not just a game system, but an overall media device. Hardcore players won’t put up with friend codes, they won’t put up with Nintendo deciding how and with who they play their games with. They can only be reached by turning over some control to the player.
Overall this may be a good choice for Nintendo. Nintendo’s best eras, other than the Wii era, were eras were the hardcore and casual played hand in hand. The Nintendo had both Castlevania and Mario. The SNES had Zelda and Final Fantasy 6. If the Wii U can recreate those days, maybe it can come back after all.
Former Contributing Writer